Let’s pursue change

Tribal Members,

We are currently experiencing a place of political unrest. Some might think that this division among us is because of the recent spill that has caused our water to become contaminated. However, this is not the case. The political unrest began a long time ago with many of us becoming displaced from employment or not being able to get employment at all. The response time of the EPA and Tribal officials served as a catalyst to further the unrest. This catastrophic incident should be taken seriously as any potential harm to life is of concern and therefore, should have been addressed in an emergent way.

We are currently trying to resolve divisions among us through policy change like the division of service provisions initiated for some and not others because of the land we reside on. We are all members of this tribe and should be allowed equal access to all provisions. Council’s response to our predicaments is that they never have a solution or resolve for us. They tell us there is nothing they can do, they can’t involve themselves in this or in that. Because of their inability to act some of us are now questioning their ability to serve and protect us as a tribe. Therefore, there are some of us who are organizing and banding together to bring forth our concerns to a Council who will not hear our voice. We elect these officials to protect our interests and I for one am not feeling protected. The only way to ensure change and to ensure we are heard, is if we unite as one and come collectively with one voice of the people. Currently, we are petitioning to get Council to stand down if they do not have the power to take back our tribe under their control. If they are letting Department heads and those in prominent positions rule over us as in a dictatorship, then we have no voice and Tribal Council tells us that they have no power when it comes to policy that has been approved by previous Councils. What they need to hear is that “You are Council, therefore, you have the power to change any and all policies as you deem fit for the membership”. However, they pursue your vote, get into place, collect their pay and forget what they are there for and continually tell you they have no power to act. This negligence of their duty to perform and to act on our behalf is where the problem lies. I for one am unwilling to accept this from our Tribal Council. They need to be held accountable for their time in office. As of now, we are organizing and standing together to pursue change. To give HR and other Departments back to our Tribe to run them as was promised by the Federal Government through Self Determination. If HR and other departments are unwilling to hire tribal members than they are not helping us toward self-determination but rather are trying to control us as a people and it needs to stop. If you are not for us than you must be against us. At the present time I think we need to diligently look at hiring practices overall throughout our tribal government and our relationship to SUCAP as well. Our biggest concerns are focused on Employment, Division of Social Services, Housing Provisions, Health Care Systems and the like. Another area of great interest and concern is that of the establishment of contractual employees that are to establish apprenticeships among tribal members to take on a particular position once trained but still remain while the tribe continues to renew their contracts without the placement of trained tribal members in these prospective positions. There are many other issues that will be brought to Councils attention. We are asking the membership to please stand with us in our effort to return our tribe to the governing of its members. Please help us to move forward and to not remain stagnant with regard to policy change. We need to do this before we are censored and retaliated against because we insist on a difference in opinion that will ultimately lead to taking back initiatives and our government for productive change for its members. We are already aware that a Council member tried to stop us from publishing what we think and feel from publication, this is not right, we also have the right to “Freedom of Speech” within this country we reside in. We should not be afraid to voice our opinions to those in place to protect us. They are in place to serve as our spokesman and advocate. Who taught us we should fear them? We are seeking signatures for change.


Yvonne Tree

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